2023 Annual Impact Report


— DN. Antonios Calash, Metropolis Registrar

In last year’s Annual Impact Report, data from 2022 indicated a decrease in the number of sacraments performed at our parishes compared to 2021. Some of this decline was expected, as the 2021 numbers were artificially high due to sacraments postponed due to the global pandemic in 2020. A more accurate understanding is seen in the simple moving averages (“SMA”) over the past three- and five-year periods in each sacramental category. The SMAs show one to two percent decreases in all sacraments over those time periods. 

In 2023, there was a slight increase in baptisms, adult baptisms, and chrismations, while weddings and funerals saw a slight decrease. The differential between baptisms and funerals is used as a basic estimate of parish growth, with the number of baptisms exceeding funerals up until 2019, indicating healthy growth in sacramental life. However, in 2020, the differential flipped, with more funerals than baptisms, and this trend continued in 2021 and 2022. This year, the number of baptisms is higher than funerals, signaling momentary but hopeful growth. It is also worth mentioning the steady triple-digit number of chrismations over the past three years. 

The sacramental health trendlines over the last 15 years were a primary influence behind His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael’s Vision for Growth. The Metropolis of Chicago believes strongly that, by getting back to the basics and addressing five indispensable needs of the Church — developing priests into servant leaders; enhancing sacramental and spiritual life of parishes; encouraging heartfelt giving; engaging with youth, young adults, converts, and faith seekers more intentionally; and ultimately, growing our parishes and our faithful — we will positively impact the sacramental health of the Church in the Midwest. 

The Metropolis of Chicago invites all clergy and laypeople to dialogue about our long-term sacramental health and also welcomes their participation in realizing the aspirations of the Vision for Growth. 

About the Annual Sacramental Health Snapshot 

The Annual Sacramental Health Snapshot was developed by the Metropolis of Chicago to provide clergy and laypeople with a big picture understanding of the incidence and practice of the sacraments of Orthodox Christianity. Though there are many measures of the health and vitality of the Church, the Metropolis of Chicago focuses on the practice and prevalence of the seven sacraments given that they reveal God to us, make us more receptive to Him, and affect our relationships with each other. 

“Unity in Christ cultivates relationships with family, friends, and neighbors—bearing fruit for vibrant communities and a flourishing Church” – Metropolis of Chicago Vision for Growth 

Help us accomplish our Vision and support the growth of our parishes, ministries, and philanthropic organizations. 

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